Where’s my muesli?!

Written by admin on July 24th, 2012

Hi! The Swedish summer blogger here again!

When summer is on and I’m outside enjoying the sun, the nature and the atmosphere, I want my lunch to be simple, healthy and, preferably, cool.

In Sweden, a very common product for relaxed summer lunches is muesli with milk, or ‘fil’, an acidic Swedish type of yogurt. We call this “to give the stove a summer break.”

Summer has definitively come to Minnesota but hey, where’s my muesli?! I’ve been so excited with trying out the new oatmeal products available to me that I’ve completely missed the fact that muesli is not a common product in the U.S. You all don’t seem to eat it. And you’re really missing out!

In the stores (tucked away in a corner) there are a few products available claiming to be mueslis, but only some of are true mueslies. A muesli is a non-sweetened cereal blend of raw and toasted grain flakes, with or without dried fruits or nuts. And that’s it! A muesli is supposed to be simple and clean. It should not contain a lot of added sugar, baked grains or other unnatural stuff. Some mueslis might be sweetened with honey though, which is okay since that is a natural sweetener.

What’s great about muesli is that it’s minimally processed, healthy, filling and nutritious. To me it is also as close as you can get to the farm in a complete meal. Finally, I love the taste and crunchy texture of muesli.

At home in Sweden, I always a carry a few different types of muesli with me – from very basic grain blends to blends with fruit and nuts. Depending on my mood and how sweet I want my meal to be, I’ll either it them as they are or add some extra fresh fruit or nuts (I always add nuts. I love them!). In the summer I eat my muesli with ice-cold milk. It’s a great lunch and really refreshing.

Writing this makes me crave muesli… I’m gonna go out now and buy oats, wheat, barley and rye flakes, hazelnuts, and some dried cranberries and pineapple and make my own. Not as convenient as I’m used to, but it will definitively be worth it!

{Swedish Muesli}

This is a great recipe to spice up breakfast in the morning. You can get most of these items in the bulk section of the health food store, which makes it all really affordable!
2 Lb organic oats
1/4 LB shaved coconut
1/4 LB craisins
1/4 Lb Dates
1/4 Lb flax seeds
1/4 LB wheat bran
1/4 Lb wheat germ
1/4 lb bran flakes
1/4 lb nuts
1/4 LB dried fruit

Mix everything together in a big Ziploc bag adding whatever your family likes or is on sale at the store. Cover with Kefir or an organic drinkable yogurt with live cultures.

 

A Swede, lost in the oat aisle

Written by admin on July 5th, 2012

Hi! My name is Lykke Abdon. I’m from Sweden but am spending the summer in the U.S. doing an internship with Country Choice Organic. Yeah!

I’m a huge fan of oats and other grains for breakfast and snacks, love their convenience and versatility. But in Sweden, I’ve always eaten them uncooked. Just plain with milk or yogurt. It wasn’t until my first day with Country Choice that I had oatmeal. And I was hooked!! This product is so great! It’s tasty, filling and convenient – much more than eating it raw since you don’t need to have fresh milk or yogurt at home.

The reason why I haven’t had oatmeal before is that it’s just that it’s not a common product in Sweden. In the food stores there you can only find two varieties of oats: regular old-fashion and whole grain old-fashion. And they’re not in the cereal aisle either but in the baking aisle!

So, off I went to the supermarket to buy me some oats to have at home. After finding the right aisle, the next cultural difference emerged: you all have so many options to choose from! At first I was amazed, but then I started to feel a bit lost. I had no idea of where to start – should I get instant or regular, unflavored or flavored, multigrain or only oats? What brand and size?

Well, since I wanted organic I effectively narrowed down my choices. I also wanted something that was certified organic, to get an honest product, which reduced my options further.

I ended up buying Country Choice regular old-fashioned oats, which I eat for breakfast (simply add hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes – love the texture it gives!) with blueberries and coconut flakes; and Country Choice maple raisin spice instant multigrain, which is perfect for an afternoon snack!

Yummy!

I wonder how many pouches of instant oatmeal I can squeeze into my bag when I leave…

 

Family Dinner

Written by John on October 16th, 2009

(A guest post reprinted from “Moved to Madison”, a blog by Matt DePaolis (John’s son)

Born into a second generation Italian-American family (and with a grandfather from the “Old Country”), the importance of family was always stressed in my house.  My life is full of big family gatherings, with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents (and seemingly anyone who happened to be in the neighborhood) coming together to share a meal.  The tradition was a priority and no matter what was happening my family always ate together; on weeknights with my immediate family; on weekends with multiple generations at an extended family dinner.  

This is what I knew and, accordingly, it always amazed me when dinner at a friend’s house seemed to be more about the food than the meal.  Needless to say, I never thought how this would affect me when I left home for college. 

Moving to Madison, I took comfort in knowing I had family near campus and expected I would join them for dinner periodically, in search of home cooking (or clean underwear).  What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the loss I felt without a daily family meal.  I really missed not joining others at the table-even my sisters-to discuss, argue or simply pass the time.  Luckily, after my first week on campus, I was pleasantly surprised to have the void filled.  Having bonded with other first year students, we have taken to eating with one another “family style” on a daily basis.  We’ve made it a priority to eat together, making sure schedules don’t conflict with our time together. 

It’s amazing how my need for “family” led me to seek a surrogate.  The experience reinforces my belief that meals are much more than calories and can sustain people in other important ways.  It also echoes my grandfather’s teaching that food is much more than something to eat and it’s the experience of sharing a meal that is important.  Moving away from my family has shown me how much I enjoy the experience of eating and how new friendships can be forged through the simple act of sharing a meal.